* President says package "respects rights of all nations"
* U.S. says will look at any new package
(Adds U.S. comment, paragraphs 8-10)
By Hashem Kalantari
TEHRAN, April 15 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
said on Wednesday Iran had prepared proposals to end a stalemate
over its nuclear ambitions with six world powers, state
"We have prepared a package that can be the basis to resolve
Iran's nuclear problem. It will be offered to the West soon,"
Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech in the southeastern
province of Kerman.
The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and
Britain said last week they would ask European Union foreign
policy chief Javier Solana to invite Iran to a meeting to find
"a diplomatic solution to this critical issue".
It marked a significant shift in U.S. policy under President
Barack Obama, whose predecessor George W. Bush shunned direct
talks with Tehran as long as it pressed ahead with uranium
enrichment that the West fears is meant to yield atomic bombs.
Iran welcomed on Monday a "constructive" dialogue with the
six world powers, in the clearest Iranian signal yet it would
accept an invitation for talks on its disputed nuclear activity.
Ahmadinejad did not give details of the new package, but
said the world could not be ruled by "using force".
"This new package will ensure peace and justice for the
world. It respects rights of all nations," he said.
In Washington the State Department said the United States
was prepared to meet Iran without preconditions but made clear
suspension of uranium enrichment was the goal.
"If they come up with some new package with regard to their
nuclear program, we'll have to take a look and see what it is,"
a spokesman said.
"Our hope will be that it addresses all of the concerns that
the United States and other countries have about Iran's nuclear
PREVIOUS OFFERS WENT NOWHERE
It was unclear whether Iran's counter-offer would be
essentially different from previous ill-fated exchanges.
The six world powers originally offered Iran economic and
political incentives in 2006 to suspend enrichment. Iran's
response hinted at some flexibility but ruled out suspension as
a precondition for talks as stipulated by the powers.
Last June the six improved the offer while retaining the
precondition. In reply, Iran said it wanted to negotiate a
broader peace and security deal and rejected any "condescending"
formula to shelve its nuclear programme.
Western officials said Iran's second response endorsed talks
for talks' sake and was useless because it again sidestepped the
suspension issue. They felt Iran was trying to buy time to
expand and make irreversible its nuclear programme.
The New York Times reported on Monday that the Obama
administration and its European allies are considering dropping
a long-standing U.S. demand that Iran shut down its nuclear
facilities as a precondition for full negotiations.
An Iranian official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters
on Wednesday that "suspension is out of the question" but that
Iran did want to get talks rolling with major powers.
"Eventually Iran may agree to accept the (U.N. nuclear
watchdog's) Additional Protocol," the official said.
The protocol, which expands on the basic nuclear safeguards
accords many countries have with the International Atomic Energy
Agency, permits short-notice IAEA inspections beyond declared
nuclear sites, to help verify no covert activity is going on.
Iran stopped voluntarily implementing the Additional
Protocol in 2006 in retaliation for initial U.N. sanctions
imposed on the Islamic Republic.
While seeking to engage Iran, the Obama administration has
also warned of moves to impose tougher sanctions if Tehran keeps
defying United Nations demands to halt sensitive nuclear work.
Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, says its
nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity. It has
repeatedly ruled out halting its uranium enrichment campaign.
Underlining Iran's intention to continue with its nuclear
drive despite Western pressure, Ahmadinejad on April 9
inaugurated its first nuclear fuel fabrication plant and said
the country had now mastered the entire fuel cycle.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, additional reporting by Arshad
Mohammed in Washington, edited by Mark Heinrich and Richard